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Mamelodi Sundowns quest for CAF glory continues with quarterfinal against CR Belouizdad

Mamelodi Sundowns Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Mamelodi Sundowns Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Published Apr 6, 2023


Johannesburg - Mamelodi Sundowns will face CR Belouizdad in the Caf Champions League quarter-final, while Marumo Gallants will square off with Pyramids for a spot in the Confederation Cup semi-final.

The two teams knew their fate in the quarter-final draw that was conducted in Cairo on Wednesday night having both finished top of their respective group stage groups.

The quarter-final of both competitions will be played over two legs in venues and dates set to be announced by Caf. Both Sundowns and Gallants will play away in the first leg.

Having already wrapped up the domestic title, Sundowns are expected to turn their focus to the continental championship and end their seven-year trophy drought.

In the past six seasons, Sundowns have disappointingly crashed out in the quarter-final four times – losing twice to Al Ahly and once to both Petro de Luanda and Wydad Casablanca.

But with coach Rhulani Mokwena’s team unbeaten in their last 22 matches since his promotion, Sundowns will surely want to make up for lost time when they play the Algerians.

Meanwhile, Gallants’ clash with Pyramids will see Bafana Bafana international Fagrie Lakay make his first homecoming since leaving Cape Town City for the Egyptian outfit in 2021.

Gallants, though, have hogged the headlines for the wrong reasons in recent weeks following reports that club officials Rufus Matsena and Dina Dhlomo have been held captive in Libya.

The duo are held as collateral by businessman Dr Ali Elzargha who helped Gallants in their hour of need during their Confederation Cup group stage clash with Al Akhdar in Libya.

Since the news of the duo’s capture, the SA minister of sport Zizi Kodwa and Safa are said to be working around the clock, including engaging with the Libyan ambassador, for the safe return of Matsena and Dhlomo.

Gallants, though, put their struggles aside on Wednesday night as they beat Royal AM 3-1 to boost their chances of surviving the drop in the Premiership. They remained bottom in the league, but are one point behind the 15th placed Maritzburg United.